Tuesday, 13 March 2012



Review: The Living Tree In Concert Part One – Anderson / Wakeman

Being on an extended YES immersion, it’s only natural that I’d want to hear more of them than what was released. A good place are the many solo works that came afterwards. Jon Anderson is pretty prolific a recording artist, whether that be studio or live. One of the more recent recordings from Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman is The Living Tree In Concert with the teasing addition of Part One to the title indicating more to follow.

The Living Tree In Concert opens with a tame, truncated but heartfelt version of “And You And I” from Close To The Edge. Now, not everyone is forgiving of a seemingly different version of a classic that many have fallen in love with and jealously protect. And some would argue that this version of “And You And I” is not well presented. However, this is a live setting with no studio trickery applied (for the most part). And I would argue that Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, in their intimate 2-man show, without the full-bodied sound of other musicians to fill in the blanks, have done a fine job in presentation not only of that song but all of the tracks found here.

But more importantly, it’s how you come to the stage when listening to this particular live recording that features some well-known tunes as well as a selected collection of Anderson/Wakeman tunes. On the Living Tree In Concert, you are gifted with a unique experience with one of the more distinct voices of our time, and one of the most gifted keyboardists of Rock. Anderson/Wakeman revisits “And You And I” in a shortened but satisfying version of the song, “Long Distance Runaround”, an excellent (voice and all) version of “South Side Of The Sky”, and “Time And A Word” from YES. ”The Meeting” from the wonderful Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (1989) is also presented. The remaining tracks from the twelve found on the album are from the recent The Living Tree studio collaboration between Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman.

What you may come away with is that these two legendary performers have aged well. One listen to the previously mentioned “South Side Of The Sky” will reveal that Anderson can still flex his voice in remarkable ways. Rick Wakeman’s skill is as immaculate and beautiful as ever, if not more so. The Living Tree In Concert is a wonderful visit with two great friends. I’m glad I took the time to sit with them.

Release Date: February 1, 2012

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